MIAMI, March 24 – Jelena Jankovic is on the prowl for further prey after taking the WTA title at Indian Wells, with the Serbian star vowing Tuesday to take a bite out of the Miami Masters.
"I’m still hungry, I still want to do well," said the bubbly Jankovic, who defeated Dane Caroline Wozniacki in the final.
"I’m kind of like an animal."
Jankovic finished number one on the WTA Tour in 2008 then lost all form by over-training and bulking up to her detriment, but she has worked her way back to fighting-fit form.
"I will win a Grand Slam. I believe in myself," Jankovic said. "I’m thinking that I can do it. If I can win Indian Wells, I think I can win a Slam also. It’s just a matter of time and doing the right things."
The 25-year-old enjoys a bye into the second round at Miami, with the seventh seed saying that her confidence is back to top level.
"When I come to the court I want to fight to the last point. I like competing, I like the challenges," Jankovic said.
"I always try my best to win — sometimes I do, sometimes not — but it’s part of the game."
Jankovic’s success at Indian Wells came more than half a year after her last trophy in Cincinnati.
"I beat a lot of good players in Indian Wells. My game is together," Jankovic said.
"I believe more in my shots and I go out knowing that I’m playing good tennis and believing much more in myself."
It doesn’t take much prompting for the usually smiling player to remember her low periods of 2009.
"There were times when I wasn’t feeling my game, and was not confident, but I am now and I look forward to playing here," Jankovic said.
"I’m feeling very strong. There are so many great players out there. I just want to try my best. We’ll see how things will work out."
The women’s field is headed by Svetlana Kuznetsova, the 2006 champion, with world number one Serena Williams out with her continuing left knee injury.
Wozniacki, newly promoted to second in the rankings at age 19, is seeded second with three-time champion Venus Williams third.
Williams is unruffled by the fact that her younger sibling Serena, last year’s losing finalist to Victoria Azarenka, is missing.
"I’m a big girl. I can swing my own racket pretty well," said the American who turns 30 in June. "I’m just hoping to work my way through the draw.
"I’m healthy and have no complaints. My goal is to stay healthy, feel good and keep the balls in the court. I like winning each and every match.
Williams, a winner this year at Dubai and Acapulco, had no comment on her sister’s progress, with Serena not having appeared on court since winning the Australian Open almost two months ago.
"I never talk about my injuries and I certainly won’t talk about hers," Venus Williams said.
"We’re both at the peak of our powers right now. We hope to stay that way as long as we have the abilities, stay healthy and have the talent."